The long awaited opening of the Riverside Leisure Centre will be taking place on the 24th July with a weekend of free family fun. There will also be a special preview day on the 23rd, dedicated to NHS staff and frontline workers in recognition of everything they have done, and continue to do, for residents in the city.
In advance of the reopening Ben Bradshaw was given a tour of the rebuilt Riverside Pool and Health suite to look at the extensive work that has been carried out.
The repair and transformation has been created following a huge investment of around £5.6m from the City Council, which now runs Exeter’s leisure service directly and no longer uses a third party operator.
The pool and health suite have been transformed since they were forced to close following a major fire in 2017. While the fire damage was being repaired, and the gym and other facilities reopened quickly, a number of serious structural weaknesses unrelated to the fire were uncovered on the pool side. These weaknesses had to be rectified to make the building safe and took a significant amount of work and time to complete.
In touring the refurbished centre Ben was accompanied by the Exeter City Council Leader, Phil Bialyk and the Lead Councillor for Leisure and Physical Activity, Duncan Wood.
As part of the tour Ben was shown the completed roof works which were a significant part of the structural flaws uncovered by the fire. This included replacing all the glass panels in the two large 42m long roof lights on the top of the building.
The huge transformation programme has created:
- New changing areas and first floor changing rooms with new tiling, wall cladding, cubicles
- New coinless lockers which open electronically – there will be no need for coins anywhere inside the leisure centre
- New Health Suite which has been rebuilt with a steam room, sauna and spa pool
- New acoustic baffles and wall acoustic material fitted above the pool
- New flooring on the balcony and seating area has been fitted and modern spectator seating installed
- New plant serving the main and learner pools, alongside other mechanical and electrical engineering work, to improve the future operation of the facility
Many of the new facilities and equipment are the same as the same as those planned for St Sidwell’s Point, which is due to open later this year.